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Working Paper No. 14/2014

UCL Anthropology Working Papers Series


UCL Anthropology
University College London
14 Taviton Street, London
WC1H 0BW, U.K.

ISSN 1759-6688
Editorial Board: Lucio Vinicius, Luke Freeman

Working Paper No. 14/2014
Published online 27 January 2014
© Copyright rests with the authors

MADE IN GERMANY:
THE EXPERIENCES AND DECISION MAKING PROCESSES OF MIGRANT MOTHERS IN BERLIN

CHARLOTTE PEEL

Dissertation submitted in 2012 for the BSc Anthropology

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ABSTRACT

This paper explores how migrant mothers in Germany attempt to actively create meaningful transnational identities for themselves and their children within the constraints of the German nation-state. Fertility levels below replacement level, alongside an upsurge in the movement of people across national borders, have made understanding the reproductive behaviour of migrants in Europe an area of vital demographic and political interest. However, discourses on migration and reproduction inherently involve more than a consideration of numbers, reflecting underlying concerns about cultural and social reproduction (Ginsburg & Rapp, 1991). Germany, as a low fertility context with one of the largest migrant populations in Europe (Behr, 2006), provides a pertinent example of such processes at work. I approach these issues through integrating existing demographic and anthropological literature with my own ethnographic research focussing on the reproductive experiences and decisions of migrant mothers in Berlin. At the heart of these debates, migrant mothers emerge as important social actors, both challenging and incorporating multiple cultural influences into their reproductive lives in creative ways. However, such attempts are largely ignored and delegitimised by dominant notions of identity and belonging in Germany today.


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